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The Crucible

The Crucible

by Arthur Miller

The Crucible Mrs. Ann Putnam Quotes Page 1

Quote #1

MRS. PUTNAM, as though for further details: They say you've sent for Reverend Hale of Beverly?
PARRIS, with dwindling conviction now: A precaution only. He has much experience in all demonic arts, and I-
MRS. PUTNAM: He has indeed; and found a witch in Beverly last year, and let you remember that.
PARRIS: Now, Goody Ann, they only thought that were a witch, and I am certain there be no element of witchcraft here.
PUTNAM: No witchcraft! Now look you, Mr. Parris –
PARRIS: Thomas, Thomas, I pray you, leap not to witchcraft. I know that you – least of all you, Thomas – would ever wish so disastrous a charge laid upon me. We cannot leap to witchcraft. They will how me out of Salem for such corruption in my house.
[…]
MRS. PUTNAM: Reverend Parris, I have laid seven babies unbaptized in the earth. Believe me, sir, you never saw more hearty babies born. And yet, each would wither in my arms the very night of their birth. I have spoke nothin', but my heart has clamored intimations. And now, this year, my Ruth, my only – I see her turning strange. A secret child she has become this year, and shrivels like a sucking mouth were pullin’ on her life too. And so I thought to send her to your Tituba-
PARRIS: To Tituba! What may Tituba-?
MRS. PUTNAM: Tituba knows how to speak to the dead, Mr. Parris.
PARRIS: Goody Ann, it is a formidable sin to conjure up the dead!
MRS. PUTNAM: I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies?
PARRIS, horrified: Woman!
MRS. PUTNAM: They were murdered, Mr. Parris! And mark this proof! Last night my Ruth were ever so close to their little spirits; I know it, sir. For how else is she struck dumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth? It is a marvelous sign, Mr. Parris! (I.89-94;103-109)

Parris is concerned with his reputation; the Putnams are concerned about getting justice for their dead babies. But even the Putnam’s “justice” is basically just vengeance. Although these characters claim to be deeply religious, their actions show that they only believe in justice on earth and not, as their Christian values would have it, in another realm. They want immediate satisfaction.

Quote #2

MRS. PUTNAM: Reverend Parris, I have laid seven babies unbaptized in the earth. Believe me, sir, you never saw more hearty babies born. And yet, each would wither in my arms the very night of their birth. I have spoke nothin', but my heart has clamored intimations. And now, this year, my Ruth, my only – I see her turning strange. A secret child she has become this year, and shrivels like a sucking mouth were pullin’ on her life too. And so I thought to send her to your Tituba-
PARRIS: To Tituba! What may Tituba-?
MRS. PUTNAM: Tituba knows how to speak to the dead, Mr. Parris.
PARRIS: Goody Ann, it is a formidable sin to conjure up the dead!
MRS. PUTNAM: I take it on my soul, but who else may surely tell us what person murdered my babies?
PARRIS, horrified: Woman!
MRS. PUTNAM: They were murdered, Mr. Parris! And mark this proof! Last night my Ruth were ever so close to their little spirits; I know it, sir. For how else is she struck dumb now except some power of darkness would stop her mouth? It is a marvelous sign, Mr. Parris!
PUTNAM: Don’t you understand it, sir? There is a murdering witch among us, bound to keep himself in the dark. (I.103-110)

Mr. and Mrs. Putnam are convinced there is a supernatural explanation for all their dead babies. Though there could be a hundred other explanations for their only surviving daughter Ruth Putnam’s behavior (including her relationship with Abigail), they find it more comforting to explain it as proof of witchcraft.

Quote #3

MRS. PUTNAM, glancing at Betty: How high did she fly, how high?
PARRIS: No, no, she never flew –
MRS. PUTNAM, very pleased with it: Why, it’s sure she did. Mr. Collins saw her goin’ over Ingersoll’s barn, and come down light as a bird, he says! (I.75-77)

The rumors are already “flying” (boo, bad puns!) about the supernatural powers the girls might have.

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